So in a belated attempt to see what the youngsters of today consider vital I made my way to the Great Hall in Cardiff University to take in the recent NME tour. All the dates were sold out largely due to the presence of a band that had been mentioned in all the lists of groups to make it big in 2010 THE DRUMS. It is rare indeed that I attend a gig where the doors are at 7.00, and 15 minutes later the venue is two thirds full, but such is the buzz regarding theses New Yorkers that it appears most have come specifically to see them.
So, are they worth the hype? Well no, not really. For a start they use a backing track to meat out their sound which doesnt seem very rocknroll. Also, and this is another sign of my age, the lead singer sounds exactly like Mark Almond singing Smiths lyrics. But I guess if you were born after 1990 you dont know who Soft Cell were and think Morrissey is that fat bloke that occasionally turns up on Jonathan Ross. So I guess to a younger generation, lead singer Jonathan Pierce has a unique vocal style. They are poppy and bright and make a pleasant enough sound and, heck, I even liked the highpoint of Lets Go Surfing, but are they the future of rock music? Well not for me, but then again Im not 19 and wearing skinny jeans so what do I know!
Next up were THE BIG PINK, who were more up my street, They had a darker feel than the other bands on show and, in keeping, all members were resplendent in black. Sonically they were by far and away the loudest and the oriental lady, Akiko Matsuura, who was drumming knocked seven bells out of her kit. Most of the tracks came from their latest release A Brief History of Love and stuck to the tried and trusted formula of a thumping drums, heavy bass line and screeching guitars, not dissimilar to Jesus & Mary Chain or early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Highlight was the single Dominoes which in anybodys book is a cracker. Of all the bands on show tonight they are the ones I am most likely to see again.
As for BOMBAY BAY BICYCLE CLUB, well I didnt know anything by them beforehand and, now having seen them live, I have little inclination to pursue any interest in the band. Suffice to say theyre young, thin and achingly cool (almost exactly the opposite of me) but seemed quite timid and introverted on stage. However it should be said that the, by now, capacity crowd lapped them up, and the Bristolian Gashead who had accompanied me to the gig had crossed the Severn Bridge specifically to see them. All this seemed to prove is that the generation gap is still in existence, but let's face it they are not trying to attract the likes of geriatric old gits like me, and quite right too.
So there we have it, a veritable smorgasbord of new band, some of whom could possibly go onto to become the next Killers (headliners on the 2005 NME tour). Oh and if you think the running order has any effect on success then think again. In January 2000 I stayed in the pub and missed the gig opening, grave yard shift, which was filled by Cold Play. So perhaps in 10 years time the lead singer of the Drums will be married to a Hollywood starlet, have a child name after a fruit and be a total arse to boot!